Shared Spaces: A New Initiative to Increase Social Inclusion of BIPOC Youth in St. John’s

St. John’s, NL – First Light, in partnership with BGC St. John’s (formally The Boys and Girls Club of St. John’s) , is proud to announce the launch of Shared Spaces, a four-year initiative aimed at increasing the social inclusion of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) children and youth in the St. John’s region.

Shared Spaces will offer cross-organizational program delivery, shared access to infrastructure, facilities, and programming, as well as the development, oversight, and facilitation of an Pan Provincial BIPOC Youth Council. The initiative aims to address issues of poverty, health, and social isolation through programming and service delivery such as after-school programs, summer camps, cultural revitalization, and recreational programs.

“We are dedicated to creating meaningful connections with BIPOC communities and organizations with the goal of providing equitable, accessible and culturally relevant programs and services for BIPOC children, youth and families.” – Melissa Slaney, Executive Director, BGC.

The initiative’s primary objective is to develop the BIPOC Youth Council to provide youth with a platform to voice their recommendations on programming and lead activities. The project will also reduce accessibility barriers faced by BIPOC children and youth across the greater St. John’s region, such as transportation and financial barriers, in order to access the programming, which will result in improved program attendance and outcomes.

The organizations are actively seeking youth between the ages of 15-18, with a particular emphasis on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth, to join their council and help better serve and represent the diverse communities they work with. They are searching for passionate and
motivated individuals who want to be part of shaping the future of their community. Youth are the driving force behind change and this council will provide them with opportunities to actively participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives. As a council member, they will have the chance to collaborate with like-minded individuals, gain valuable leadership skills, and make a positive impact on their community. First Light and BCG strongly encourage all interested youth to apply and become
part of this exciting initiative by contacting either organization.

“Shared Spaces is a much-needed initiative in our community,” said Stacey Howse, Executive Director at First Light. “By working together, we can better support BIPOC children and youth and ensure they have access to the resources and programming they need to thrive. Shared Spaces will create an opportunity for cultural sharing, education, leadership, and peer support.”

The initiative will include ongoing activities such as training and professional development of youth participants, delivery of weekly Shared Spaces programming at multiple locations, including cultural, educational, and recreational activities to support social inclusion, and cross-organizational program exchange.

Shared Spaces is funded with a $3,000,000 budget and will run until October 2026. It is supported by First Light, BGC St. John’s, and the Youth Council Members from both organizations.

For more information, please see contacts for BGC or First Light below:

First Light

Media Contact

Julie Rowsell
[email protected]

Youth Council Contact

Amelia Joe
[email protected]


Media Contact

Melissa Slaney
709-579-0181 ext 204

Shared Spaced Information

Howie Feltham
709-579-0181 ext. 202